Political Economists are Neither Selfish Nor Indoctrinated

23 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2001

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Columbia Business School - Management

Date Written: May 2001


Most professional economists believe that economists in general are more selfish than other persons and that this greater selfishness is due to economic education. In this paper we offer empirical evidence against this widely held belief. Using a unique data set about donating to two social funds at the University of Zurich, it is shown that economic training does not make people act selfishly. However, the 'natural experiment' supports the hypothesis that the different behavior of economists can be explained by a selection effect.

Keywords: Economists, Public Good, Giving Behaviour, Education, Selection

JEL Classification: A13, A20, H41

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Meier, Stephan, Political Economists are Neither Selfish Nor Indoctrinated (May 2001). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 490; IEER Working Paper No. 69. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=259265

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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